Alum spotlight: Tevin Davis (BFA ’21)

collage of photos

Tevin Davis, BFA Performance, 2021

Photo by Jeremy Bustin

When Tevin was still at VCU, he went to see Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations on Broadway, “As I was walking out, singing a song from the show, someone asked me to come back stage and meet the cast.” He took pictures with them and was in final callbacks, when COVID put an end to his plans.

Even though Tevin began singing in the church as a child, it wasn’t until 8th grade that he discovered musical theatre. After his school’s teacher Neil Burch saw him sing at their Black History Month assembly at Goochland HS, he asked Tevin to be in the ensemble of their production of Beauty and the Beast. Tevin was in every show after that, as well as music directing and choreographing several of them.

Tevin in The Red and Brown Water (VCU)

“I watched High School Musical and didn’t see myself represented, but I found a home in the theatre.” When he got to VCU, that family expanded.  “I was myself and people loved me, and I loved them. We built each other up.” There were two shows that stood out for his experience at VCU. In the Red and Brown Water and Blues for Mister Charlie. “They were predominately Black casts and I’d never experienced that. I found a new side of theatre that I didn’t know existed. That was life-changing for me.”

Tevin in The Wiz at the Dominion Energy Center

In July after graduating, he got an email from Freddie Ashley, AD of Actors Express in Atlanta inviting him into their apprenticeship program on August 1.  Tevin responded, “Oh my Lord no, but I can try to be there by September 1.” Turns out Ashley wanted him there to start rehearsals, but he was willing to give him the extra time.

Tevin in the Actor’s Express lobby

Tevin was cast in their production of Heathers as an understudy for three dance-heavy ensemble tracks. In the classic backstage scenario, he almost got a break at the first preview, “Twenty minutes before curtain I got the notice, but the actor actually showed up in time, and I didn’t go on.”

‘Actor’s Night Out’ a social event for Atlanta’s finest actors. Photo by Tone Love

In November, Tevin received a grant from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He had placed in their dramatic and musical theatre competition while in school, so they flew him back to Richmond where he sang at the presentation.

Tevin playing piano in front of Singleton. “My friend took this as I was being swept away by the music”

Tevin will remain in the apprentice program until August 2022, but he has had some offers and opportunities, “I was in the studio with Tyler Perry and watched him work.” He has more projects that he can’t talk about, including “significant roles in major TV and films.” Tevin plans to stay in Atlanta for now, “It’s rife with Black excellence and it’s getting bigger every day. When the apprenticeship is over, I want to be a full time actor.” Judging from his success in just a year, that seems a given.

Tevin in Cincinnati

Header image (clockwise from bottom left): Tevin by a Whitney Houston poster, Tevin as a kid; photo by Destiny Martinez; Tevin playing in band; Tevin in a class in Shafer; Tevin in cap and gown; headshot by Jeremy Bustin

Compiled by Liz Hopper (professor emeritus) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the December 2021 Theatre Alumni newsletter